Thursday, December 25, 2008
Well, I stand seriously corrected. I thought that Notre Dame would continue their streak of bowl futility last night against the essentially home-standing Hawaii Warriors in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
Notre Dame (7-6) exploded for a resounding 49-21 victory that really wasn't as close as the score indicates. Yeah, it was that bad.
Apparently the Warrior squad I saw nearly beat Cincinnati in their regular season finale is actually the worst team in a bowl game...ever.
At least last year when Hawaii (7-7) got pummeled in the Sugar Bowl it was by a Georgia squad that was clearly superior. This time around, they made a Notre Dame team that backed into a bowl game losing 4 of their last 5 games look like the Tennessee Titans.
The Fighting Irish deserve a great deal of credit too of course. Hawaii may have played their worst game of the season, but it came on a night when the Irish played their best.
Jimmy Clausen, who had an average season, played brilliantly, completing 22 of 26 passes for 401 yards and 5 touchdowns (both Irish bowl records).
Clausen exhibited his tremendous arm strength on deep balls floated perfectly into his receivers' arms. He zipped rockets across the middle, and most importantly didn't turn the ball over, something that has been a big problem for him this season.
Golden Tate put the finishing touches on a great personal season, catching 6 passes for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead the Irish receivers.
Perhaps the only negative for Notre Dame was that they only managed 65 yards rushing, but when you can pass like that who needs to run the ball?
Overall, the Irish can be quite proud of the effort turned in during the season finale and for the first time since 1994, they will head into the off-season brimming with confidence and excited about the prospects that lay ahead.
Also, on behalf of Stars & Slights, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!